Moses @ 90: Inspiration

Moses @ 90: Inspiration

The extraordinary artist Ed Moses is showing recent works in the former Santa Monica Museum of Art in Bergamot Station. He is 90, and I was told that most of the works on view were done in 2016.

          Now that’s an inspiration.

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Moses seems to continually reinvent his oeuvre, breaking new ground with unexpected juxtapositions of color, form, materials, dimension, and use of shapes and space.

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web3He works in series…huge gestural paintings that seem to leap off the canvas, yet retain molten centers of passion and energy.

web2  He breaks into the paint, using a “secret sauce” that makes it crack when “activated’ by applying another layer of paint over the dried layer of what sounds suspiciously (to my decorative painter’s ear) like crackle glaze, or at least shellac or white glue, both of which can crack through wet paint laid over it. The effect is stunning.

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web5Fun house mirror? After a fashion. This room is a whole installation of reflective metal, painted and cracked pieces, and applique, which combine to transform the world into something never seen before.

web12The distorted head silhouette appears to be a repeating Moses motif…showing up in painted dialogue,

web8and appliquéd onto other wild pieces like these screens stenciled with delicate wallpaper-like florals and punctured by squiggly worm-like cut-outs.

web9On some pieces the head shapes are partially cut out from the surface in concert with the other cut-out shapes and lines,

web7Here shocking yellow cut-out squiggles are sliced with blue. Determinedly undulating,  they seem to be trying to subvert the gray and lacy ivory butterflies and blossoms of their riotously bucolic  environment. I mean…background.

These stunningly inventive works don’t need to come alive…they are alive.

And happily, so is the prolific and endlessly creative Mr. Moses.

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Master Pho at CAFAM

Master Pho at CAFAM

Having seen the extraordinary show, “Shadow of the Turning“, at the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles, we wanted to return the following Sunday, to see master crafts-person and artist Binh Pho wind up the show with a demonstration of his work techniques.

Shadow of the Turning” is also the name of a book, an integral part of the show, written by Pho in  collaboration with writer, curator and  director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, CA, Kevin Wallace.

WEB1Pho uses, as I understand it, a dental drill,  to create a delicate lace of designs in this ultra-thin wood bowls he turns.

WEB2He demonstrated his techniques from 1-5pm, in the long courtyard outside of the Museum, attended by dedicated band of fascinated onlookers.

WEB3Pho jokingly explained that should he make a “mistake”, such as making an unplanned cut or shape or edge, he could incorporate it into the design later.  His humor is warm, engaging and infectious, and seems a bit “Zen“.

WEB5He applies a sticky film called “frisket” to the surface of the bowl, through which he cuts designs to create a stencil.

WEB6He then airbrushed color through the stencil design onto the wood surface, using acrylic paints…Golden Acrylics, in this case.

WEB4He worked at a table, outside, in December (LA weather not withstanding) surrounded by his myriad tools and materials, seeming completely at ease, stopping only to crack a little joke, or share a humorous anecdote with the crowd.

WEB7He is based in Illinois, and teaches at, “places like Anderson Ranch.” How lucky we were to have him share  his marvelously imaginative and intricate work with us in person, in conjunction with his show.

Possibly a once in a lifetime experience. (Which seems to happen a fair amount in Los Angeles.) Gratitudes to the CAFAM for making this all possible.

May 2016 be a year of magical possibilities and transformation.  Binh Pho does it his way…we can do it ours.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

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It is wonderful fun to create these “Artissima Lumens

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These (plastic!)  light switch plates become tiny canvasses, ready for adornment (including the tiny metal screws).

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Each one is carefully sanded, primed and base painted with waterborne paint.

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The surface is then ‘textured” with semi-transparent, waterborne glaze.

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The glaze is manipulated over the dry,  base painted surface with tools such as sponges, rags and specialty brushes.

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Because the glaze is semi-sheer, the base paint shows through, but as an altered hue, with added depth and complexity.

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When dry, the glaze treatment provides an evocative  surface to paint, stencil, stamp and further embellish on.

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Next, pattern, imagery more texture and color are added, often with stencils artfully arranged.

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Finally, the whole surface is varnished, sealed with a clear coat of acrylic (again, waterborne), to add sheen and durability.

Some kind of wonderful experience…this process, and the satisfaction in creating “Artissima Lumens“!

A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

  A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

I have had the opportunity, the honor, really, to work on a very special project for a historical residence, in the historical West Adams District of Los Angeles.  I was brought in by an architect specializing in the restoration and preservation of  historic buildings to transform a custom cabinet, designed to cover the living room television set, into a singular work of art.

I worked closely with the architectural firm, and project manager,  interfacing with the owner, interior designer, builders, and foreman, as we developed the design from concept to a specificity of  colors,textures,  materials and composition.

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Along the way, I amassed and created inspirational images, painted, gilded and stenciled mock-ups, to scale drawings, and numerous samples.

Once inspired by images, and with the design process determined, it was time to bring the rubber to the road…and take the concept to the surface!

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The inside of the four cabinet doors were stenciled with a customized motif that was variously rotated, flipped and reversed into variations that were combined to create an  elegant,  complex, yet fluid composition.

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The individual motifs, and the pattern they created when combined were designed to complement and reflect the pattern in the rug,

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and the carved images of  a free-standing wooden cabinet in the room.

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Even the decorative heating grate cover is an inspiration, and is integrated into the overall design and feel of the room!

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The architect’s office created a mock-up from copies made from the stencils themselves, and put together in the desired sequence for reference, to insure no mistakes were made.

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Due to virulent vigilance, none were.

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Stencils based on the chosen designs were drawn out to scale on acetate, a clear plastic material often used for this purpose, and hand-cut using an xacto knife, on a “self-healing” cutting mat.

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Once the stencils were used, colorful paint residue made it easier to see their pattern, and also served as a color guide. The hand-cut stencils can be too delicate to wash off, so the paint stays on them.

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After careful measuring and positioning, the stencils were taped into place over the primed, latex base painted, gold painted and several times stippled door panels..and the colors were applied in a stippled (or pounced),and  layered fashion.

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Stenciling is truly the art of delayed gratification…the total effect can really only be seen when done.  You have to  love it.  If you do, the effort, the care,  the patience and the high wire act is worth it.  It is for me…I truly love the process, and how complex the results can become.One of my favorites is the extraordinary ceiling of the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room, housed in the Chicago Art institute.

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After the stenciling  was completed, three applications of composition gold leaf, also called dutch metal or schlag, were applied to the front side of the doors. Each surface was delicately sanded in-between, with a fine sandpaper of 400-600 grit.  Visual delineation of the  squares of gold leaf was the desired look. The  surfaces were  then sealed with a coat of  oil varnish designed for use over dutch metal, to prepare it for the painting.   Dutch metal will tarnish with any contact with water media, so this varnishing step is crucial.

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Finally, the initial painting of the “saga of flying cranes’ began…first in primer, as the paint is acrylic, and it would not stick to the oil-based varnished surface. Washes of color in acrylic were then built up over the surface, and detail laid in. The painted surfaces were lightly sanded between paint applications, to keep it smooth and satiny.

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More color details were added to give depth, dimension, and a bit of pop to the scene.

The colors were carefully chosen and designed to work with the room’s rug,

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(glorious colors and patterns…found by the amazing architect and designer and their team.)

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 fabrics, textiles and accessories…(some might say that pillows are necessities!),

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as well as the wall colors and finishes in the room. The undertone of deep blue violet in the birds also provides pop against the complimentary gold background.

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It was important to the architect that the crane’s feet have personality!

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Inspired by the film, “Winged Migration“, these cranes have grit and determination…they are going somewhere, and they are going to get there!

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On-site in the residence,  I treated the sides of the cabinet in the same stippled fashion as the interior surfaces of the door…but no stenciling here. I applied layers of stippled color over the primed, them base painted, then gold-metallic painted surfaces, as was done with the inside of the cabinet doors above.

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The room is handsome, serene, streamlined, and somehow both warm and inviting, and cool and elegant.

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I am looking forward to gong to the site soon,  to see and photograph the doors installed and the cabinet as a whole.

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When I do, I think I  will be tempted to say…”You’ve come a long way, baby!  You’ve flown the coop!”

Are You looking forward to flying in this New Year?

I hope You are able to take flight in 2013.

As we know…time does fly…so let’s fly with it!

Decorative Painting: A Life in Review

Decorative Painting; A Life in Review

Having spent many years, and still spending them in this broad arena we call, “Decorative Painting”, I wanted to take a moment to step back, and look into what comprises this multifaceted field…which could be described as the enhancement of the built environment.

Decorative painting can involve the coating, texturing and stenciling of small, utilitarian objects.

It can be the embellishment on an “industrial” scale with latex paint and big brushes, of a commercial establishment….a kind of  “branding”.

Exterior, …

         or interior, with graphic design and lettering

Decorative painting is

wall glazing…

ceiling stippling and custom stenciling…

and layering of color.

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It is pattern…

and marble

,                  and gold

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It is pure joy.

It can be pure love.

It will transform.

E-LUMEN-8 your life

E-LUMEN-8

Your Life…

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor. They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”, readying the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Gold, silver, copper and bronze metallic media add luminescence, glow, and glimmer which  catch the light and animate the surface.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic , contemporary or celebratory.

The necessary hardware or screws are treated as part of the whole, and treated to each successive application.  They become part of the visual composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with  water-borne varnish. The “Lumen” is now is ready to eLUMENate its chosen light switch, and give the user a jolt of light energy.

Experience shows that we can become more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive through interaction with our visual surroundings.  Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings, and thus both our interior and exterior landscape.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

BELIEVE

CREATE SUCCESS

 HAVE GRATITUDE

Lumens for Humans II

Lumens for Humans II

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.  What we surround ourselves with can make us feel more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor.

They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The unadorned plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”.  This readies  the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are then manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture. Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our surroundings and our state of mind.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro, contemporary or even mysterious.  The tiny pieces function as both art and decor;  frame and focus.

The necessary hardware is treated as part of the whole, and receives each successive application.  It becomes part of the total composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with layers of water-borne varnish. The “LUMEN” is now is ready to enhance, beautify and transform the deceptively simple act of eLUMENation.

“Artissima Lumens”  can be designed to integrate with murals, wallpaper, artworks, and anything else which is part of the wall, or “built environment“.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Shine on…Believe, Create, Succeed, Have Gratitude…

Here’s to YOUR e-LUMEN-ated Life

E-LUMEN-Eight

E-LUMEN-Eight

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor. They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

Typically, the plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”, readying the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Gold, silver, copper and bronze metallic media add luminescence, glow, and glimmer which  catch the light and animate the surface.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic or contemporary.

The obligatory hardware or screws are treated as part of the whole, and treated to each successive application.  They become part of the visual composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with  water-borne varnish. The “Lumen” is now is ready to iLUMENate its chosen light switch, and give the user a jolt of light energy.

Experience shows that we can become more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive through interaction with our visual surroundings.  Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings, and thus both our interior and exterior landscape.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Believe

Create Success

Have Gratitude

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

Once upon a time, after the New Year of 2011 had begun, and before 2010 taxes were due, I had the opportunity to collaborate with an esteemed Client and associate, to add that “finishing touch” (actually, the window treatments came afterwards) to a very special Guest Bath.

This Bath was in the process of being transformed, from a place of day to day use by his son, now gone off  to college, to a fresh and fun “new” space for his fiance, who tended towards a minimalist, Mid-Century,  New York sensibility.

My awesome Client, himself a long-time Berkeley, CA resident, has an eclectic design sense, informed by extensive travels around the globe,

art collected at home and abroad,

and a love of bright color,

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and funky furniture.

Indeed, he has done much of the interior painting in his home himself.

We discussed that bathroom in question, and I took a look…

It was freshly painted, with colorful artwork, of course,

and the green tile had to be taken into consideration.

I chose three repeating stencil designs, and made Samples for my Client and his Intended to look at on site, in the room. Taking my cue from the tile, the artwork, the colors in the adjacent hallway and throughout the home, I used cerulean blue and deep forest green, nature colors that would contrast beautifully with the base coat,  Benjamin Moore OC57, “White Heron”,  give a clean fresh feel to the room, and support its function.

I also wanted the design to reflect both a feminine and masculine sensibility, and be able to marry both eclectic-world beat-funky tastes with minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined preferences. Or, try, anyway.

I was thrilled that the Client chose a custom stencil that I had created from an existing source years ago, for a master bath suite  in another and very different East Bay city.  Happily, the design contained both geometric and organic elements, that created both a sense of movement and stability.

It was fun, it was crafty, it was elegant, yet funky, and the Client supported my idea of applying the paint color in a mottled, layered, and textural way.  Best of all, in the words of my Client’s fiance, “It complete(d)  the room!”.  As I was concerned that she be as happy with the result as he, this comment was music to my ears.

The repeated design pulls out colors in the artwork,

and creates a bower for the painted lovers.

The blue and green hues set off the strong red accents prevalent throughout the home.

The stenciled effect is multiplied through reflection.

A spot application of invisible clear varnish protects the stenciled border from the effects of moisture.

With careful planning, enhanced by Client collaboration, even a room already containing strong elements of art and color can be “completed” through the well-placed pattern, whether hand-painted, stenciled, printed or plastered. That extra addition of artful love and care to a space can really “pull it together”, and bring it to the next level of design and artistry.  A stenciled border can contain and express both feminine and masculine elements within its design.  Eclectic-world beat-funky can marry minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined. My Client/s, and our collaboration have proved that!

Have YOU ever “married” sensibilities, styles and approaches in Your projects?

If you feel so inspired,  please share about it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all collaborating in this thing called Life,  together.   Cheers!